Sunday, January 30, 2011


"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."

you said it, jimmy dugan, from league of their own.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


i got a new roommate. her name is bang bang.

this is her as a kitty kitty meow:

this is an updated picture:


...whereas it seems she is more indifferent toward me...

Monday, January 17, 2011

my childhood run-in with homographs/literality/homonyms

i was recently home, in idaho (christmas break). whenever i go home i have more time, and a lot of that time is spent thinking about my childhood. being back in the house i grew up in, hanging out with my (awesome) parents, surrounded by photos and old journals makes it pretty simple to do that, and this christmas was no different.

...and a lot of my thoughts this year ended up being about WHAT A FRIGGIN CONFUSED KID I WAS. let me begin with the "momento" that sparked this trail of thinking and memories...

in our bathroom at home there hangs a picture of an ocean wave crashing down on a sandy shore. on this picture there is a scripture from jeremiah that reads:

you will find me, if you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.

pretty inspiring for a bathroom picture, amiright?

but as a child, what i knew of "earnest" was as a first name (too many ernest goes to camps???) and so in my mind i read...

you will find me, if you seek me, if you look for me in ernest.

...and thought, "hmm, who is this ernest? and in which Book can i access him?" it wasnt until years and years later that i reread it (perhaps more closely?) and finally realized "ah yes, there is NOT in fact a book of ernest in the bible."

but my confusion with homonyms was not the only trouble i had. ive always been a very "literal" person, in my understanding and interpretation of things. and i suppose this began as a small child. i recall very vividly learning in school and at church that alcohol was bad. i felt like the consequences of drinking and driving were really hammered into my young elementary school mind (a bit over the top me thinks for a 3 foot little kid), but i guess the school succeeded because it really stuck with me...

for example, i remember very clearly sitting in the front seat of my mom's car with her and she drank JUICE from a juice cup and the words "DONT DRINK AND DRIVE" rang in my ears, causing sweat to drip down my face as i debated telling my mom that she was breaking the law. not wanting to tell my mom how to LIVE HER LIIIFE, i settled for frantically scanned left and right for cops in hopes that my mom would not be caught and arrested. after all, she was drinking and driving... and it scared the crap out of me. i think the DONT DRINK AND DRIVE campaign for elementary school kids could handle a slight expansion to read DONT DRINK ALCOHOL AND DRIVE K THANKS.

i must have been really obsessed with abstaining from alcohol as a child because i also recall getting just as stressed when i saw a bottle of red WINE vinegar in our refrigerator. I SWEAR TO YOU i checked the volume of the contents daily to investigate whether or not someone in my family was chugging "wine" excessively, and/or had a drinking problem. THE STRESS!

i think its somewhat miraculous that i have come so far, educationally (may or may not be a word), but i think a lot of that success is in fact due to my imagination (lets call it imagination), so ill proudly tell these stories for years to come. xoxo gg

happy (but yes, confused) kid meredith (with the infamous eyebrows):

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


come on baby meredith! what are you so afraid of?


ahem... this might end up being long. just fair warning. in case you for some reason cannot tell the length of things by looking at the entirety of the text (this intro is already longer than it needs to be)...

when i was younger, and more emo i used to look to music and lyrics for affirmation for how i was feeling.

one of those bands to which i looked was jack's mannequin. i even went and saw him in indianapolis in 2006. well he has a song called SWIM, and i used to play it over and over again when i was ready to quit school, or quit trying or just quit.

You gotta swim,
For nights that won't end,
Swim for your families,
Your lovers your sisters,
And brothers and friends,
Yeah, you gotta swim,
For wars without cause,
Swim for the lost politicians,
Who don't see their greed as a flaw,

The currents will pull us,
Away from our love,
Just keep your head above,

I found a tidal wave,
Begging to tear down the dawn,
Memories like bullets,
They fired at me from a gun,
Cracking the armor yeah,
I swim for brighter days,
Despite the absence of sun,
Choking on salt water,
I'm not giving in,
Well I'm not giving in,

now granted, the lyrics were written by the sole member of jack's mannequin, andrew mcmahon, who produced this album shortly after beating cancer. so certainly the "currents" that pulled him were absolutely stronger than mine, but i still feel like he wrote the song for people battling other strong waters.

anyways, i am writing all of this because a good friend of mine, professor Bill Freudenburg, passed away shortly after christmas, and he was one of the first professors that taught me about hard work, resilience, and continuing on; both by his example, and in our contact with one another.

here is how we met...
when i was notified that i had been accepted into the pol sci phd program at ucsb (at 3am on a wednesday morning) i jumped up and down like a crazy person and had to stifle a scream of joy so as to not awake my neighbors. Unfortunately, the departmental grant was not going to be enough to cover my living expenses, and my department did not grant TAships to first years. SO, i was in a bit of a predicament. i needed to find a way to pay for school, because debt wasnt going to be an option.

given my experiences studying environmental policy for the past 2 years at purdue, i decided to look to the environmental studies program at ucsb to see if i could get a TA position in that department. professor freudenburg immediately stood out to me because of his overlapping interests in the environment and policy/politics (though a trained sociologist) and his publications on risk analysis. this was something i had studied at purdue, so i excitedly made a call to his office, and suprisingly, he PICKED UP!

nervously, i told him a bit about myself, and he said, "well, you seem really great and qualified, but i dont select TAs i havent met. could you get out here this week?" (UM, HOW? OF COURSE NOT). me: "CERTAINLY!"

so...i booked a flight and a rental car, and then i was in sunny santa barbara 2 days later, meeting bill for tea at a little cafe downtown.

the meeting must have gone well, because he gave me the TA position, mentored me through my first article rejection, fed me and the other TAs pizza, and changed my outlook on our planet and its resources. i know he did the same for his 500 students (well maybe not the pizza, but you know what i mean).

after my stint as his TA we still interacted with one another because of our mutual ties to the center for nanotech and society at UCSB. whenever i would see him at a meeting he was ready to tease me about being "nothing but trouble" but always with a kind smile. i was also one of his first facebook friends, so he would always comment to me about the latest on that front.

the reason i think of "swim" when i think of him, is because it always awed me how driven and motivated he was... even after he was forced to use a cane, he never missed an opportunity for collaborative research, or a chance to share his knowledge. he truly was an inspiring man, and i am so grateful to have known him.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

mega lotto

i was just trying to get a soda at the gas station on my block, and somehow the attendant, greg, gave me a free soda, but used the buck to buy a lotto ticket with me.

so now i am in possession of a MEGA LOTTO ticket, where the winnings are 290 million. greg told me to hold on to the ticket because "only good people win the lotto, and youre a good person."


k i will let you know if i am a millionaire, january 4th.